Emirates, the country’s largest airline, has announced plans to accept bitcoin as a payment method and to allow customers to trade NFT collectibles on the company’s website.
At the Arabian Travel Market international travel trade show, Emirates’ chief operations officer Adel Ahmed Al-Redha said that the Dubai-based airline also aims to use blockchain technology to track aircraft data.
The COO did not say when the new capabilities will be available, but he did say that he expects to employ more people to work on crypto payments, blockchain monitoring, metaverse, and non-fungible token (NFT) projects.
He went on to say that the carrier’s blockchain-related efforts are part of an attempt to better “monitor customer needs” and make operations, training, and online sales more “interactive.”
Emirates declared in April that it will spend “tens of millions of dollars” on a metaverse expansion plan and the creation of collectible and utility-based NFTs, with a launch scheduled in the coming months.
As an increasing number of Dubai-based businesses use blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) has officially joined the metaverse. The cryptocurrency regulator has acquired land in The Sandbox metaverse in order to build a virtual headquarters, or “MetHQ.”
Several more airlines have begun to accept cryptocurrency as payment. AirBaltic was the world’s first airline to accept bitcoin as payment for flight tickets in 2014. It now also accepts ether and dogecoin.
El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele said in October 2021 that the Central American country’s low-cost airline Volaris will accept bitcoin, however this plan has yet to materialize.